“Super Barrels” Roll Out Around Oak Park and Chicago
CNT’s Natural Resources program launched the “Super Barrel” movement (part of our Green Affordable Housing project, funded by the Home Depot Foundation) last weekend at Oak Park’s “What’s Blooming on Harrison” event. Attendees were drawn to the area behind the multi-family housing unit at 301 Harrison, to see the debut of what CNT’s Natural Resources Director Steve Wise calls “cubist water harvesting”.
The so-called “Super Barrel” refers to a 330-gallon bulk liquid container cube – much larger than the typical rain barrel. Where a 50-gallon rain barrel can only capture about a one-tenth of the rainwater running off a 1500 square foot roof, the Super Barrel captures approximately one third of the water. The collection of storm water takes pressure off of the sewers and stores the water for later use in gardening (or in the future, even toilet-flushing).
The Green Affordable Housing project is piloting the use of green infrastructure for stormwater management in multi-family housing units throughout Cook County. And green infrastructure does not just mean Super Barrels; in Oak Park, CNT is collaborating with the Oak Park Residence Corporation to install Super Barrels, create bioswales in multi-unit housing parking lots, and establish rain gardens at a number of different sites. And in the Chicago neighborhood of Austin on the west side, CNT is working to create a rain garden or use Super Barrels at one of the community gardens.
(Rollover the picture to see the Super Barrel with and without its covering)